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Skakel Seeks New Trial

Sentencing for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel - convicted of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley - has been scheduled for Wednesday, but his lawyers are doing all they can to prevent that from happening.

Defense attorneys are seeking a new trial for Skakel and, in court papers filed Monday, accuse prosecutors of improperly withholding a police sketch pointing to another suspect - evidence they argue could have led to an acquittal for Skakel.

Skakel, 41, was convicted in June of beating Moxley to death with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors.

The composite sketch of a man spotted near the scene bears a "striking resemblance" to Skakel family tutor Kenneth Littleton, an early suspect in the 1975 slaying, the defense lawyers allege in the documents Monday.

Attorneys for Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, said prosecutors didn't hand over the sketch until more than two months after a jury rendered its guilty verdict.

"One of the defenses pursued at trial involved a claim that Kenneth Littleton may have been the killer," the defense wrote. "Disclosure of the composite drawing would have been the linchpin for such a defense, and in all likelihood would have resulted in a verdict of not guilty."

Deputy Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano says prosecutors will respond to the allegations in court.

Eugene Riccio, Littleton's attorney, isn't waiting until then. He is denouncing the new tack being taken by Skakel's attorneys as just the latest attempt to blame the girl's death on his client, who was granted immunity from prosecution.

"I'm just getting tired of dragging this guy out into the street again, unjustifiably so," says Riccio.

Skakel's attorneys are requesting evidentiary hearings on the sketch issue and other objections. The motions are expected to be heard on Wednesday; it is not clear whether the sentencing might be delayed if additional hearings are ordered.

The sketch illustrates a man seen twice near the crime scene by Greenwich special police officer Charles Morganti Jr., including once around the time the defense says Moxley was killed. Morganti said Monday he is not sure who he saw that night because too much time has passed.

Skakel's attorneys argue the sketch contradicts Littleton's testimony that he did not leave the Skakel property when he went outside the night of the slaying to check on a noise.

The filing in Stamford Superior Court accuses prosecutors of failing to turn over evidence, misrepresenting evidence to the jury and violating Skakel's attorney-client privilege by using information obtained by a private investigative firm hired by the Skakel family.

The defense motions also say prosecutors failed to disclose reports by a state investigator detailing the evidence against Littleton and Skakel's older brother, Thomas, who was another early suspect.

Skakel faces a minimum sentence of 10 years to life and a maximum of 25 years to life. He also will be eligible for parole, something not available in murder cases since 1981.